News and Comments Monday 4 June 2012

• What is balance? • What Qarase wants • What Ghai wants 
• Permits? • Lawyer guilty • Ausaid to Tailevu

WHAT IS BALANCE?  One reader persists in saying my blog is not balanced, as I claim, but is unbalanced and very pro-Bainimarama.  I invite him and all readers to read the “Blog Aims, Publisher" page under the blog title that spells out the philosophy and reasoning behind this blog.

WHAT QARASE WANTS. Former PM Laisenia Qarase says the SDL will be positive and show good faith towards government’s constitutional initiative, but its submission to the Constitution Commission will ask that the 1997 constitution be upheld, and the last elected parliament be reconvened to “make appropriate amendments to the 1997 Constitution, including changes to the electoral system and (holding a) general election under the revised 1997 Constitution.”  The SDL is seeking common ground with the FLP, the NFP and the UPP in its Commission submission.  Meanwhile, what the “appropriate amendments” and “changes” are, we can only guess. 

WHAT GHAI WANTS. Constitutional Commission chair Professor Yash Ghai said the commission will listen to the views of all citizens who want to contribute in the making of the new constitution. He said critics who say the process towards a new constitution is illegal after the abrogation the 1997 Constitution were not facing up to realities. The only way to return to a democratic system is to engage the whole country in a process of dialogue, consultations and finding some consensus.  -- Based on FijiLive.

SOME CLARIFICATION ON PERMITS. A police permit has always been required for public meetings. Since 2009, permits have not been issued to some organizations under the Public Order Act.  The situation as of now is that NGOs and civil societies, including faith-based organisations, will automatically be granted a one-off permit “to help facilitate and encourage public discussions on the civic education on the Constitutional Consultations.” Why it should be one off is unclear.  More than one meeting is needed on so important an issue. 

One assumes routine, internal meetings (which, by definition, are not public) will now not require a permit. This is the way the announcement has been interpreted by the Methodist church  which in welcoming the move  says, it will now be able to hold their Annual General Meeting. I am less certain. What is meant by a one-off move? Routine church meetings were internal, they were never public, but they were not allowed under the Public Emergency Regulations. Can the church and other organizations now hold their routine meetings without the need for a permit, and can other types of meetings other than those concerned with the Constitution process be held, or will they still need a permit? It would be helpful if the police would spell out more precisely which organizations and which types of meeting still require a permit. 

The police have also made it clear, unnecessarily so, I thought, that if any such meeting “breaches the provisions and intentions of the Public Order Act by prejudicing peace, compromising public safety and good order, engaging in racial or religious vilification, or undermining or sabotaging the economy or financial integrity of Fiji, will be immediately stopped from holding the meetings and any subsequent meetings.” One would have thought this could be taken as read.

This one-off permit will not apply to political parties or unions which  will have to continue to apply each time they wish to hold any meeting.

PROMINENT LAWYER GUILTY.  Haroon Ali Shah has been found guilty of seven counts of professional misconduct and two counts of unsatisfactory professional conduct by Independent Legal Services Commissioner, Justice Paul Madigan.
The case is in relation to Shah holding $70,000 in a trust account for an insurance claim payment after an accident and then only paying $50,000 to the client while deducting $20,000 as legal fees.
The other counts relate to Shah failing to ensure that the trust account was not overdrawn and failing to keep displayed accounting records which disclosed at all times the true position regarding all trust money held.  
The maximum sentence is the lawyer's name to be struck off the legal practitioners roll. He will be sentenced by the Independent Legal Services Commission on the 22nd of this month.

AUSSIES HELP TAILEVU. Despite the standoff by the Australian government, Aussie aid continues. The Australian High Commission report aid worth $19,000 has been schools and villages in Tailevu to improve sanitation, provide flush toilets, water tanks and upgrade of a District School library. Five villages will no longer have to depend on creek water for cooking, bathing and washing. In addition $3,000 is being spent on a footpath to low-lying  Tamavua-i-Wai Settlement close to Queen’s Road on the western Suva boundary.  


Backing Away said…
Are you backing away from being a military junta supporter? Do you see the writing on the wall?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Backing away ... I've not changed. My support for the Bainimarama government was always qualified, as many of my postings show. See also the Blog Aims page below the blog sub-title. Have a good week. Croz
Credibility matters said…
Can you remind us again who voted for the Bainimarama 'government'? Your aims are honourable but you shoot yourself and your credibility in the foot when you try and pretend the junta is anything but what it is? Thugs with guns? Do you think we in the EU and elsewhere cut off aid to legitimate governments?
Anonymous said…
Dear Backing Away
Are you worried and defensive about the constitutional review process? Do you see the demise of communal politics? Do you see the writing on the wall for your racist friends?
Anonymous said…
Readers maybe interested in the 2012 Lowy Institute Poll. Despite the demonising of Fiji by the anti-Govt bloggers it is having negligible impact on the Aussie public. See...
credibility matters said…
Dear 'Anonymous'
Are you worried and defensive about the junta? Do you see the demise of military dictatorship? Do you see the writing on the wall for your facist friends?
The Falkland Islanders' Choice said…
Well, someone needs a thwacking for the failure to light at least one large beacon within Fiji for H.M. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Now how could that have possibly come about? A sad and shocking lack of respect for a person who has shown so much studied interest in our welfare over sixty years as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations. At least one citizen had the guts and the presence of mind to write to the Fiji Times and they published the letter.

Now to further compound this failure, we are deemed to be supporting the Argentinian claim to Las Malvinas. Have we gone off the Deep End completely? Or have the North Koreans taken us cerebrally hostage? What a Mickey Mouse Show. The Falkland Islanders will never forgive us. Neither will all those soldiers, sailors and airmen who took part in winning back the islands from invasion under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's leadership. The Falkland Islanders wish to remain British. When they change their minds, then Argentina may take them back. The facts on this have NOT changed in the past 25 years. Rule Britannia!
Anonymous said…
Dear Credibility etc
Ooh, temper temper. At the risk of setting you off again in a tantie, fascism and racism are synonymous. Look no further than Hitler (who was by the way a democratically elected leader).
Anonymous said…
Dear Maggie. Nothing like a war to up the ratings.

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